Over 86,500 people have reportedly died in the United States from the Coronavirus, and the fear generated by those deaths is driving the public policy debate. But that number is a dramatic overcount. Our metrics include deaths that have nothing to do with the virus.
Deaths that have absolutely nothing to do with the Coronavirus count as virus deaths. Add to that claims that the CDC is double counting some of these improperly identified cases and the perverse financial incentives created by the government, and you have a real mess when crucial decisions are being made based in large part on this data.
Erroneous data unduly scare people about the risks of the disease. It keeps the country locked down longer than necessary, which destroys peoples’ lives and livelihoods in many other ways. Exaggerated fears of the virus endanger lives by keeping people from obtaining treatment for other medical problems. It also makes it impossible to accurately compare policies across countries.
It is hard to believe that we are basing such crucial decisions on such flawed data.